April Showers bring May Stress

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April Showers bring May Stress

Grahm Tuohy-Gaydos, Managing Editor

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There’s an old saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.  However, that person probably never went through the month of May at GMHS!   Prom, SAT’s, awards ceremonies, League and State sporting events, AP tests, and final exams all seem to land on the exact same day.  All these events can sometimes lead to an overload and increased stress, and dealing with stress can be a difficult thing to do. And, with an estimated 20% increase the last three years of students seeking help for mental health issues, it’s clear that we’re under more pressure than ever before. Here are 8 easy steps that doctors recommend to keep you sane during the final weeks of school.

 

1. Remember to breathe

In all of the hustle and bustle of the month, it can be easy to lose sight of the most basic of things.  Setting aside a couple of minutes every day to practice mindfulness techniques, such as breathing exercises,  helps you to calm down your body’s stress response and shift your attention back to the present moment. In turn, this gives you time to rationally think through the anxieties you have, rid yourself of unhelpful thought patterns and enables you to deal with the large amount of events that are going on.

2. Eat, sleep and exercise well

Pulling all-nighters, surviving on a poor diet, and getting minimal amounts of exercise in your day can increase symptoms of anxiety. For your body’s best performance, try to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night.  As for diet, try to minimize fast food, or candy and drink less caffeine and more water.  And finally, go out for a walk or jog to clear your mind.

3. Set realistic goals

Setting realistic goals, whether you have several weeks, days or hours before your exam, helps you to put everything into perspective. Acceptance of your situation and working within the realms of what you have maximizes your productivity without the risk of burning yourself out.

4. Don’t go it alone

Research has shown that studying with your classmates is an effective technique as it allows individuals to better absorb their own notes. Furthermore, the emotional benefits of social support tend to include a better sense of confidence and autonomy.

5. Pace yourself through panic

Panicking is understandable considering all that is happening this month.   If you experience it at any point, take six deep breaths, hydrate yourself, and then go back the problem at hand, being sure to break it down into several, manageable chunks. Remember that there is usually a rational solution to every problem, even if you can’t see it at first glance.

6. Believe in yourself

When being constantly faced with new challenges, we often forget to look back at how far we have come and how much we have already achieved. Given that you have prepared well, there should be no reason for you to worry. Therefore, when experiencing a negative thought, try to replace it with a positive one. For example, be proud of yourself and value how much you have already achieved’. You can do this!

7. If you feel like you are struggling, talk to someone

Asking for help is never shameful. In the most extreme cases, it can help save a life. When struggling, talk to your friends and family.  They care about you and are always willing to help.

8. And remember, when all else fails- summer break starts in 18 days

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